How did you get started in the rail industry?
I have been in the construction industry for over 40 years, many of those years with Western States Cat as a technician and a Cat Rental Store manager. During that time I was exposed many times to the rail industry. Several of my family members have either worked with or for the railroads and trains have always fascinated me. About ten years ago, Western States Cat started working with several local railroads and out of that relationship I helped to form Western States Railroad Solutions, a full division of the company dedicated solely to serving the railroad industry.
What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
That is an easy question to answer: the people. From the largest and smallest railroads to the contractors who work with them, the people are unique. Those who are in this business are passionate folks, proud of what they do, and are hard-working. Over the years I have worked in many industries, and I appreciate each one of them, however the railroad industry is my favorite because of the people. I very much appreciate every opportunity to visit with those who serve this industry and learn about what they do.
What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime?
Most of my off time is dedicated to my wife, kids, and grandkids. Between remodeling projects, staying involved with my children, of whom I am extremely proud, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, ballet, and pulling an occasional tooth, my life is very full. I enjoy 4-wheeling and golfing when time allows.
How do you define the “future” of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
The rail business will always be a vast part of moving goods economically and efficiently. Things like finding alternative power sources and environmental stewardship are top-of-mind as we look into the future of the industry. However, innovations and partnerships regarding safety, product improvements and efficiency will continue to remain at the heart of driving our business forward day by day.
What do you enjoy most about being part of REMSA?
REMSA is a great resource for our company, from trade shows to networking and support. We very much appreciate the REMSA staff and resources.
Anything else you would like to add/share?
I have always been a history buff, so working with the railroads and continuing to learn about them and their heritage has been rewarding. Having this rich history to draw on is an inspiration to me. When faced with a challenge I think about the engineers and workers who, over 100 years ago, forged accurate tunnels through miles of mountain ranges - when I can't even draw a straight line! Teamwork, determination and innovation have overcome obstacles throughout the history of the railroad and the same still holds true today.
Interested in being featured in an upcoming Mainline and on REMSA's social media? REMSA is looking for members to feature as the member of the month! Whether you are a seasoned railroader or new to the industry, REMSA will share your story and recognize your company across our digital channels. Email Trade Shows & Marketing Manager Heidi Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply today.